Kierkegaard at the Comedy Club

He sits in the corner with his draught of beer,
taking notes on the gnostic science of laughter.
He seeks what it disguises. He diagnoses
the hollowed-out pauses before and after.
It’s the pauses make humor, the jokesmith will tell you –
comic success lives in the gap.
Each joke derives from what’s left unsaid.
The void it exposes between head and head
is the consummate trap
into which we laughing and willingly fall.
He scribbles rough notes at the back of the hall.
He posits that in the scene of real transcendence
the assertion’s left unmade, but it is still earned.
Perhaps beneath all jokes the same joke repeats.
The joke’s the long walk home through rainy streets,
and whether the world’s a bad pun or a punch line
either way we’ve learned
to self-medicate to feel fine.
Either way crowds gather in the maze
of dim lights and alcohol to demystify birth.
There’s no going back once you’re here:
that’s the story of earth. 
It’s funny in its own right,
and he smiles, just because.
The night is young, but still it is night,
early hour on the long road to light
hid in what the smile does.


About the Author Timothy DeJong: Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Tim DeJong received an M.A. in English from the international campus of Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain and a Ph.D. in English from The University of Western Ontario. Recently hired to join the English Department at Baylor University, he looks forward to bringing as many Canadianisms to Texas with him as possible. He currently resides in London, Ontario with his wife and daughter. His previous work can be found in the journals Euphony, Forge, and Booth. He occasionally tweets at @tadejong.